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    On Jose Rizal's Retraction: The Great Debate

    Learning about Jose Rizal's life and works as part of college curriculum is mandated by Republic Act 1425 (RA1425), otherwise known as Rizal Law of 1956, sponsored by the nationalist senator Claro M. Recto. The law also required reading Rizal's scathing novels Noli me Tangere and El Flibusterismo in high school years.

    At the end of the history lesson on Rizal, professors will always emphasize that after writing his two novels which are obviously attacks against "men in robes," Jose Rizal returned to the fold of the Catholic Church by signing a retraction on the eve of his execution on December 29, 1896 (similar to Voltaire again by the Jesuits).

    The retraction text was published on the friar-controlled newspapers La Voz Española and Diaro de Manila on the day of execution, and on El Imparcial, the morrow.

    The retraction document was never shown to curious people not even family of Rizal and was supposedly lost.

    Almost forty years later, the supposed "original" retraction document was discovered by Fr. Manuel Garcia, C.M. in 1935, that states (in full text):

    "Me declaro catolica y en esta Religion en que naci y me eduque quiero vivir y morir.

    Me retracto de todo corazon de cuanto en mis palabras, escritos, inpresos y conducta ha habido contrario a mi cualidad de hijo de la Iglesia Catolica. Creo y profeso cuanto ella enseña y me somento a cuanto ella manda. Abomino de la Masonaria, como enigma que es de la Iglesia, y como Sociedad prohibida por la Iglesia. Puede el Prelado Diocesano, como Autoridad Superior Eclesiastica hacer publica esta manifastacion espontanea mia para reparar el escandalo que mis actos hayan podido causar y para que Dios y los hombers me perdonen.

    Manila 29 de Deciembre de 1896

    Jose Rizal

    Jefe del Piquete
    Juan del Fresno

    Ayudante de Plaza
    Eloy Moure"

    Translated in English:

    "I declare myself a Catholic and in this Religion in which I was born and educated I wish to live and die.

    I retract with all my heart whatever in my words, writings, publications and conduct has been contrary to my character as son of the Catholic Church. I believe and I confess whatever she teaches and I submit to whatever she demands. I abominate Masonry, as the enemy which is of the Church, and as a Society prohibited by the Church. The Diocesan Prelate may, as the Superior Ecclesiastical Authority, make public this spontaneous manifestation of mine in order to repair the scandal which my acts may have caused and so that God and people may pardon me.

    Manila 29 of December of 1896

    Jose Rizal"


    Analysis et al...

    The contents of the document "found" in 1935 differed from the ones published by newspapers, La Voz Española and Diaro de Manila, and at the time of Rizal's death and El Imparcial, the day after the execution.

    Fr. Balaguer, a priest allegedly present at Rizal's cell when Rizal wrote and signed the retraction document in front of him, Fr. Villaclara and another Jesuit priest, didn't report the presence of the retraction document to his higher-ups immediately but waited until Rizal is dead.

    The "retracted" Jose Rizal was buried in an unmarked grave inside what is now Paco cemetery, and not in a Catholic cemetery where he should belong. Rizal's remains were later transferred to the present Rizal Monument in Rizal Park (Luneta) in 1911.

    There no records of marriage between Rizal and Josephine Bracken as a reward if Rizal did retract. The love birds earlier sought this while Rizal was exiled in Dapitan (FYI, there's also a version of an earlier Dapitan retraction that Rizal signed but withdrawn at the right time. some sort of retraction retracted)

    The "original" retraction document was never submitted to an independent testing body for authentication.

    The blown-up picture of Rizal's execution, now displayed at the Manila City Hall, shows Rizal without a rosary in his hand like what Fr. Balaguer and biographers Guerrero and Cavanna have written.

    All these arguments and counter-arguments continue to fuel one of the greatest debates on history and possibly the greatest hoax in history.

    On Jose Rizal Retraction, did he or did he not?


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    posted by backpacking philippines @ 11:30 PM,

    18 Comments:

    At Dec 30, 2007, 8:33:00 PM, Anonymous bertN said...

    There is nothing that Rizal will gain by retracting on the eve of his death. I never believe in his so called retraction then and I do not believe it now and never will.

     
    At Dec 31, 2007, 2:09:00 AM, Anonymous kyels said...

    It's good to learn about our country's heroes! After all, it's part of us as the countrymen.

    (:

     
    At Jan 23, 2008, 11:05:00 PM, Anonymous mitch said...

    (O_o) history said that Rizal had confession 3 times, married josephine, and held a rosary when he died.... but if he really retracted, then why would the priests let him down by burrying him in a non-catholic cemetery not given even a decnt burial. nor informed his parents that he was no longer excommunicated...

    HE DIDN'T RETRACTED!

     
    At Jan 23, 2008, 11:09:00 PM, Blogger undergroundbitnez said...

    O_o) history said that Rizal had confession 3 times, married josephine, and held a rosary when he died.... but if he really retracted, then why would the priests let him down by burrying him in a non-catholic cemetery not given even a decnt burial. nor informed his parents that he was no longer excommunicated...

    HE DIDN'T RETRACTED!

     
    At Jan 23, 2008, 11:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    O_o) history said that Rizal had confession 3 times, married josephine, and held a rosary when he died.... but if he really retracted, then why would the priests let him down by burrying him in a non-catholic cemetery not given even a decnt burial. nor informed his parents that he was no longer excommunicated...

    HE DIDN'T RETRACTED!

     
    At Oct 6, 2008, 11:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Jose Rizal did retract. He would not have died if he never retracted. the only reason he entered Masonry is to protect himself against the Spanish government. He was executed,meaning he retracted.

    HE RETRACTED!!!

     
    At Nov 18, 2008, 6:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    For me whether rizal retracted or not, rizal is always our greatest national hero.It won't lessen his being a patriotic, a martyr and a hero to our country.

     
    At Mar 4, 2009, 3:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Kindly make an argument about this with explanation pls...thanx>>Fr. Villaclara and another Jesuit priest, didn't report the presence of the retraction document to his higher-ups immediately but waited until Rizal is dead.

     
    At Mar 6, 2009, 8:33:00 PM, Blogger backpacking philippines said...

    anonymous, what argument? dead man tell no tales! :P

     
    At Mar 10, 2009, 2:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ala mu...

     
    At Feb 19, 2010, 1:26:00 PM, Anonymous crisseley said...

    if he retracted, then why was he executed that the mere fact that he was executed was because he was believe to destroy the church through his writings.

     
    At Mar 17, 2010, 5:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    When Rizal was in Germany, he lived w/a pastor. may be that was the reason why Rizal became so critical about the catholic church and he was excumunicated by the priests. Scholars believed that one of the books that Rizal had was a bible. And yes, no rosary in his hand and buried in non-catholic burial site. Only the family of Rizal who brought a cross on his burial site.

     
    At Mar 17, 2010, 5:31:00 PM, Anonymous RED said...

    when rizal was in germany, he live w/ a pastor may be that was a reason why he was so critical with the catholic church and later he was excummunicated by the priest. many scholars believed that one of the 3 books of rizal before his execution was a bible. and yes, no rosary in his hand during his execution and buried in a non-catholic cemetery. Only his family who erected a cross on his burial site.

     
    At Jun 14, 2011, 12:58:00 PM, Blogger travellingstudent said...

    our opinions will not change what really happened. I myself have doubts about the allegations of the witnesses(Time and again, we knew how "officials" manipulated history to serve their purpose..yes,primary suspect is the Church). But how would I know if I am right and they are wrong..Just because I want to believe so?The best thing to do is for experts to research evidences without biases..The problem with us in Philippines, we dont give value or proper attention to historical facts. We are a people who just want to forget instead of correcting the pasts. Heck,instead of finding what was correct or wrong, the government easily gave general "amnesty" and "forgiveness" to those who served the Japanese government during the Japanese occupation, the American atrocities during the American-Philippine War were simply forgiven and forgotten, Aguinaldo was never properly investigated(he was proclaimed a hero side by side by the person he ordered killed- Bonifacio),Erap was freed and his sins forgiven and he almost won another presidency, and soon Marcos will be proclaimed a hero...hmmm.. see what I mean?

     
    At Jun 24, 2011, 10:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    yes they have wronged many people but they deserve second chances and regarding about the life of marcos and aguinaldo..they are just fighting on their perception that is right for them...take note they also have contributions in our country..

     
    At Jul 14, 2011, 12:53:00 AM, Anonymous Von said...

    it says right there that Rizal's retraction was not made public until his death.. this statement refutes all arguments that asks why was he still executed even after his retraction

     
    At Oct 15, 2012, 6:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i don't know where am i to believe.....by the way what is retraction?

     
    At Feb 9, 2015, 8:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    not true not true not true. also, irrelevant

     

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